Cross Training for Triathlon while preparing for London

I have completed my first season Triathlon consisting of one Try a Tri and four Sprints. I have set myself two targets for next season. A top half finish in a Sprint Tri and (if swim training goes brilliantly) complete an Olympic distance Tri towards the end of the season.

To meet the first target (on sprint distance) I am looking to pull two minutes out of my swim and run times, but at least five minutes out of the Bike. I had a good Turbo sessions planned for the winter and early sping.

I recently got a place in London Marthon, which is good news. I have run four times before and know how to train to enjoy the day. Only I need to balance this training to my bike training.

Anyone out there with advice on how to do this?


  • Jim- I am doing similar- have London place, but will be straight into triathlons/duathlons after. I think I will use easy biking and swimming as a substitute for the recovery runs but am really going for a time at London so will have to shunt the other two aside for a bit.
    Also have the added complication of the coal race which is the week before London and willneed to train with pack and actual coal sack near to the time.
  • LizzyBLizzyB ✭✭✭
    I'm doing much the same as Monique, but am going to schedule in one tempo bike ride a week - probably on the same day as a tempo run is scheduled. I've made a lot of progress this year on my bike times and I don't want to lose it!

    I'd like a pb at London but have a lot of commitments this spring(work, university course, the double-edged sword of living in a ski resort) ... so I'm not sure if the full-on training programme planned is really going to happen. I think a lot of prioritization is needed!

    I'm going to try and squeeze in a couple of swimming lessons though, as I am the world's most pathetic swimmer and I think that this is where I can get the greatest benefit for the least amount of effort!
  • I'm doing the same as well. My main target for the year is a late Summer Open Water Olympic Distance Tri but I'm also training for London, Edinburgh and possibly Loch Ness Marathons.

    I'm just going to fit in the long marathon training runs at the weekend and during the week try and do two training sessions of something a day where possible. My swimming in worse than pathetic Lizzie (10 minutes plue for 400m) so I know how you feel.

    Jim, sorry I've no advice. Just thought I'd let you know you're not alone.
  • I don't think it is doable - I don't know how triathletes manage it. My cycling has gone almost out the window in the few weeks I've been running again and I was doing 150 miles a week consistently. Maybe the weather has something to do with it as all my training has to be done before 8am or after 8pm and it's easier to run than cycle in sub zero temperatures. I'll try and do one decent ride (60-70miles)a week at the weekend as maintenance and one set of intervals in the week - maybe even on the turbo.

    Trouble is I was starting to go out with the local chaing gang but only really up to it with good legs and I find I don't have good legs off a 50 mile running week.
  • I'm in this situation too. Doing Rotterdam marathon on 4th April but this will be my first real tri season after 2 sprint tri's last year.

    My swimming is OKish but I think I should be able to make some progress on cycling which is truly awful at the moment!

    I'm hoping to cycle twice or three times a week, swim twice and run 5 times (RW 4hr schedule)

  • I would say it is reasonably common for triathletes to have a go at a spring marathon. Winter is all about base building - getting the miles into the legs both on the bike and the run and there is no better motivator for getting out on the long run when its cold and wet than the prospect of having to run a marathon in mid-April. Once the marathon is out of the way you can sharpen up with a few sprint triathlons in April/May ready for the olympic distance races to kick off in June. Running is consistently my weak event in triathlon but I think training for the London marathon last year really helped improve my run times. I'll be at London again this year and am hoping for similar improvements in my run splits come the triathlon season.
  • Folks,

    Thanks for all the replys.

    My swimming is very weak too. But my local pool to work has a coached session each morning so the target is 2 -3 swims here a week.

    Marathon training should be five basic runs a week. Distance run at the weekend. Two club sessions. And two run to work one day and home another day (About 12k).

    Cycling is a cycle to and from work the opposite end of the day as the run and then one or two turbo sessions.

    With swimming taken out, that leaves at best one rest day, with most days two seesions. Could this be overload?
  • Jim - why not look to doing your marathon training on 4 days a week running, that way if you feel up to it you can throw another session in, but at least you will be doing 4 quality sessions... that's my plan anyway!
  • Go for it, it's definitly doable.
    I'm training for the Paris Marathon, following a 4 runs per week schedule. Added to that are 3 x bike and 3 x swim sessions per week. With a bit of juggling it's not too difficult to fit this in per week. One rest day per day week is all you need.
    Once the marathon is complete you can ramp up the intensity of the sessions to peak for your Tri races.
  • Just training for triathlon with one long run should get you through the Marathon.
    Im a triathlete training for the Lanzarote 'ironman'and i find that 1 long run of 3hrs a week followed by a short cycle is enough 'endurance'for one week.
    To many long runs leads to tiredness.
  • I know people regard tri as a sport in its own right - but I'd be interested if anyone has been a competitive runner or cyclist for some time, and then got into triathlon but carried on competing in their original sport - how their performances held up?
  • I used to be competitive in cycling before tri and for the first year my cycling shone in triathlon terms and was still up there in the road racing. Though as time went on i lost a lot of my speed, though still had the endurance and strength. This was simply due to the amount of races in cycling were cut by half.
  • I've been a competitive runner all my life and only got into tri about 11 years ago. I find my running times hold up pretty well in sprint races, in Olympic races my 10km time drops off a bit, in IM my marathon time is distinctly worse.
  • I have slowed over longer distances as well- since taking up tri- however I think I am a faster starter due to all the 5k's (mainly been doing sprints). I have been absent from the Athletic Weeekly monthly rankings of late, but I have got myself into the results in 220 as compensation.
  • Hi Jim,

    I'm glad I'm not alone. I'm doing Shakespeare Marathon (week after London) and using spring training as a base for the rest of the year.

    I'm keeping to four runs a week as I don't want to lose touch with the bike and swim. After the marathon, I'll drop dwin to three runs a week and increase the bike. My next big race will be HIM at Sherbourne in August.

    Last spring I got achilles tendonitis through a six run per week schedule. It wrecked my summer. I hoping that cross training this time round will make a difference.

    Best of luck with the training

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